Volkswagen will launch all-new generations of three existing models within three years, and debut three SUV models in less than five calendars time.
With all-new Volkswagen Passat, Tiguan and Polo models on the horizon, member of the board for Volkswagen brand technical development, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, confirmed the product timeline at the Detroit auto show, saying the all-new Passat, for European and Australian buyers, will be the first to launch sometime next year.
Volkswagen showed an R-style Performance concept version of the American wide-body Passat at Detroit, utilising a 184kW, 1.8-litre version of the company’s all new EA888 turbocharged direct injected engine.
While a production version of the Passat Performance concept remains unconfirmed, Dr Hackenberg did confirm that the next ‘slim body’ Passat for European and Australian buyers will “definitely” include a performance flagship variant. “It [Passat] will be replaced in 2014, based on the MQB platform.”
Since the Volkswagen Passat R36 was dropped from the lineup in 2011, the German mid-sized sedan has been without a high performance flagship. Detroit’s Passat Performance concept is a indication of the high outputs Volkswagen can get from a relatively small capacity four cylinder powerplant – a pointer to the new generation Passat R ‘Euro’.
According to Dr Hackenberg, the “Tiguan successor is I think 2015”, also based on the modular tranverse matrix (MQB) platform, which will underpin everything from Polo to Passat in their next generations.
The Tiguan compact SUV will be squeezed by production versions of the Cross Coupe concept, likely due the year after, and the CrossBlue mid-sized SUV shown at Detroit, which will be a late 2014 model for the US, where it will be produced only in left-hand-drive.
Asked why right-hand-drive models won’t be made initially, particularly considering Australia’s appetite for Territory-sized SUVs, Dr Hackenberg clarified the situation.
“I didn’t say that we aren’t able to make it in right-hand-drive. But the biggest market we’re making a decision about is left-hand-drive. If the market is big enough we can make it right-hand-drive. Because MQB [platform] can be right-hand-drive”
Dr Hackenberg also admitted that the sub-compact SUV segment is growing in many markets, including Australia, and that Volkswagen must provide a contender.
“I think it’s necessary. We are working on it.
“Volkswagen is usually not the first. But when Volkswagen comes, we offer good performance…”
An arrival date somewhere around the 2016 mark is expected, the time the Polo is also due for replacement. Although Dr Hackenberg wouldn’t confirm the exact timing for the new light hatch, he revealed that development of the next generation light hatch is advanced.
“[It’s] based on the MQB ‘zero’. MQB has several levels – it will be the lowest level.
“[But] Polo is still quite strong.”